How Can I Increase The Size of My Biceps and Triceps?


question-icon-newI need some serious help packing on more size and mass to my arms! I love the look of big muscular biceps and triceps which is a look I have been working hard to achieve for many months of training but I just can’t seem to add any real bulk. Are there any specific mass building exercises you recommend that I should be including in my workouts to help me get bigger biceps and triceps?

answer-icon-newArms are one of the first things people think about when starting a weight training program and building big powerful biceps and triceps are a common goal among new bodybuilders. I will teach you how to train different areas of your arms and how to utilize the right exercises to get the best results and I’m sure you will see a difference in your arm size within 6-8 weeks if you follow this mass building plan closely.

I will split the plan into biceps and triceps along with forearms as they come into play as well. A common misconception is to overtrain the biceps with tons of sets thinking this type of training will build bigger arms. However, that is simply not going to work and it will actually backfire on you resulting in serious issues with overtraining. It is actually the triceps which is the bigger muscle group covering two-thirds of the arm, so to get bigger arms you really need to work the triceps hard. It’s also crucial to remember to eat plenty of quality calories and to get adequate rest in between workouts to allow your arms to fully recover.

It’s smart to train biceps and triceps on separate days so you can focus all of your energy on training one specific part of your arm thoroughly. A solid routine is to include back and biceps in one workout and then chest and triceps in the next workout. Make sure you train back before training your biceps and hitting your chest before moving to triceps. You want to focus your energy reserves on the largest muscle group early on in your workout when you have the most energy and strength.

Biceps Exercises

Dumbbell Curls
This is the basic exercise for the biceps and one I’m sure you know well. Begin with the dumbbells by your sides with the palms facing inwards. Start to lift the dumbbell up to shoulder level while twisting your wrists so that the palm ends up facing towards the ceiling. Pause for a second at the top and then lower slowly down. Do not use your body weight to curl the weight up. If you have to do that, then the weight is just too heavy. Keep your elbows by your sides throughout the entire movement. Use a weight that you can do for 10 reps and shoot for 3 sets of 8-10 reps on this exercise.

Barbell Curls
This is the king of all mass building exercises for the biceps. It allows you to pack serious weight on the bar and lift heavy for overall growth. Keep your elbows by your sides and lift the weight up then slowly back down. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Concentration Curls
This exercise is performed using a dumbbell. Find a bench or something to sit on. Start with your right arm and place your elbow into the side of your thigh and lift from a straight arm all the way up to your shoulder then back down slowly. This exercise allows you to really feel the biceps working especially if you do it slowly. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 for each side.

Preacher Curls
The preacher curl is the best exercise for developing thick biceps with a high point which gives a dramatic look of size and width to your arms. You need access to a preacher bench for this one but most good gyms will have this piece of equipment. Take a seat on the preacher bench and then lift the bar up to shoulder level, hold briefly and then lower the weight down slowly. This exercise is a killer so you might want to leave it until the end of your workout. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Hammer Curls
The hammer curl is the same as a normal dumbbell curl but you do not rotate the wrist when you curl the weight up so it looks like you are making a hammer action with your fist. This exercise works the outside of the biceps which creates a slightly different look to the muscle and it also targets the forearm muscles very well. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

I provided a variety of different biceps exercises to choose from. You can do some or all of these exercises when performing your biceps workouts. At first, I expect you may only be able to manage two or three of them before your arms fail but keep at it and within a few weeks you will be doing all of them.

If after a few weeks you don’t see any progress, then you might try a technique called supersetting. Supersetting is when you pick two exercises and do one set of each with no rest in between the exercises. After performing both exercises back to back, take a 1 minute rest, then hit it again. That’s the thing with muscles, you really need to keep them guessing so switch your training methods up often to keep stimulating growth.

Triceps Exercises

Close Grip Bench Press
This is probably the best overall mass building exercises you can do for the triceps. A barbell allows you to use a lot of weight which helps to stimulate and overload the triceps. This exercise is very similar to the bench press for your chest but the only difference is that your grip will be much closer together and you will keep your elbows into your sides while you lower the weight down and press it back up. Your grip should be about 6-8 inches apart on the barbell and try to focus your attention on placing all of the tension on your triceps versus your chest. If you let your elbows flare out and away from your body, this will force your pecs to work harder so make sure to tuck your arms into your sides and keep them there throughout the entire range of the movement.

Dips are one of the best bodyweight exercises to increase the size and overall shape of your triceps. You will need to find some parallel bars for this exercise. Grip the bars and straighten out your arms. Lower your body down slowly and bend your arms until your triceps are parallel with your shoulders. Keep your elbows into your sides to force all of the tension on your triceps. Pause at the bottom for a second then slowly push yourself back up but don’t lock your elbows at the top. Do as many as you can and shoot for 3 total sets. When it gets easier, you can add a weight belt to increase the resistance.

Cable Push Downs
For this exercise you will need a machine with a cable attachment. Attach a straight bar then set it at its highest attachment on the machine. Add your desired weight and then grip the bar with both hands. Keep your elbows by your sides and lower the weight until your arms are fully extended at the bottom. Slowly return the weight back up to the top position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Skull Crushers
This is another great mass building exercise for building up the muscles of the triceps. Lie on a bench with a barbell above your head and your arms out straight. Slowly lower the barbell down while keeping your elbows in a fixed position and lower the weight down very close to the top of your forehead. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

By adding a wide variety of different exercises for both your biceps and triceps and mixing up your overall workout routine by changing the sets and reps, you will be able to shock your muscles into growth and add inches onto your arms in a short amount of time. Along with hard training, you will also need to focus on eating a nutrient dense whole food diet that is high in lean protein, clean carbs and healthy fats in order to provide your body with the quality calories it needs to fuel your body optimally and repair your muscles!

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